Michael Steele is the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. That's a rather prominent position, given that the Republican Party is ostensibly the sole opposition party right now in America. Unfortunately, Mr Steele has taken this opportunity to be the voice of reasoned dissent and decided it would be better to act like an irrational buffoon as much as possible. This week he refused to condemn Sarah Palin's discredited accusations of there being "death panels" tucked into the depths of the health care reform bill. Instead he had this to say (from Carol Lee at Politico):
Steele said he does not regret that Republicans such as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich raised the “death panel” issue.
“Some characterize it as unfortunate. Others characterize it as a reflection of what they think and what they feel,” Steele said in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “That comes from some place and is something that’s out there in the grassroots of America, not just Republicans.”
Asked if he thinks there is a “death panel” provision in the bill – a suggestion that has been proven untrue and that the White House has spent a week trying to knock down – Steele said he does not know.
“It may or may not be. I don’t know. We don’t know what the bill is,” Steele said. “But there’s clearly an attempt by at least the House members to put in place a structure that causes concern for the American people in respect to end of life decisions. I think that’s a legitimate point. You don’t have to call it death panels if you don’t want to. You can call it a panel. I call it rationing.”
In other words, who cares about the actual validity of the claim that HR 3200 will implement the creation of "death panels" to deny care to kids with Down's Syndrome. Whether they exist or not is irrelevant. Instead, he focuses on the fear that some people (real Americans?) have that maybe, according to various rumors, just maybe there might a possibility that Obama is looking to pull the plug on granny. And this is straight out of the Rovian GOP playbook; exploit the fears and insecurities of average Americans for the maximum political benefit. It's so cynical and debased, but illustrative of the pandering that has destroyed the legitimacy of the GOP over the past decade....